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At the last minute before Brexit was completed the Welsh Government followed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in applying environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations to common land. This means that if a development proposal affecting a Welsh common is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, it must be assessed to determine whether its impact demands an EIA. If the project exceeds certain thresholds (for instance, if it involves more than two kilometres of fencing in a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty) it will be required to undergo screening.
However, as in England, the Welsh Government has failed to spell out the sequence of works on commons. We have said to Defra that applicants should clear the screening process before applying for consent for works on common land under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, and we shall say the same to the Welsh Government. Otherwise time is wasted determining a section 38 application which then fails the EIA test.
Read our charter for Wales’ open spaces.